Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Review: Royal Guard, Medicom VCD

I'm going to try to post photos and a review of each and every item in my collection. Since I already have a large number of collectibles, I'm going to try to do this for each new items as it arrives, and then as time permits go back and do things I've had for a while. Hopefully this will help me purchase fewer items at a time, and spread them out longer. Fat chance of that, I know. In case anyone cares, I'm patterning my reviews after Michael Crawford's Review of the Week which I enjoy reading (when there are items that interest me). I likely won't be as in-depth as he is, at least not most of the time. On items I have the really interest me, who knows how long I'll blather on about them. I won't necessarily label each section, but in general I'll try to at least touch on each of the following sections: Packaging, Sculpt, Articulation, Paint, Accessories, Collector Value, and possibly a summary/overall score. Okay, enough introductory stuff, on to the review.

Medicom VCD Super Deformed Imperial Royal Guard

Medicom is a Japanese company that makes some interesting toys, in several different licenses. They have two lines that are imported by Sideshow Toys. A 12" line Real Action Heroes wherein they've done such things as Star Wars figures (among which are some of the greatest looking 12" figures like Boba Fett, Jango Fett, Sandtrooper), Marvel figures such as Spiderman and Venom, and one I would really love to get my hands on - Spawn. However these figures generally run $150 and so are out of my price range. Sideshow also imports some VCD (Vinyl Collectible Doll) figures, which are also available in the same licenses as the RAH (and probably others that I don't know/care about). These retail around $60, and some can be found as low as $40 + shipping on eBay (and when I find the Spawn VCD for that price I'm buying it). Anyway, one characteristic of the VCD figures is that most of them Super Deformed, which means their heads, hands and feet are exaggerated in size, not unlike the Hasbro's (Star Wars)Galactic Heroes or Marvel Super Hero Squad), only several times bigger. These are approximately 8" in height, a would be excellent toys for kids, if they weren't so pricey. So far with the exception of two figures, all of the (Star Wars) ones that I am aware of are Imperial or otherwise Dark Side type figures. The two exceptions are Republic Clones (which turn into Imperial Troopers). To be brutally honest, if you don't have an unhealthy obsession with Royal Guards like I do, you may not be as pleased with this particular VCD. For the price you pay you're not really geting much; the only notable features (psuedo-posable cloth robe, force pike) are also the only features. Still, it's a Royal Guard, so of course, I like it and I'm glad I bought it.


Packaging is very non-important to me, as I open all of my stuff. Still, I can appreciate nice packaging. Of the 6 Star Wars VCD figures I own, only 1 of them has a box that isn't very pleasing to look at (it's the ESB Boba Fett). The box is usually made to resemble the character's helmet with clear plastic windows where the "eyes" and other highlights of the helmet are. The Royal Guard's box is no exception, and I think it looks great - though the Stormtrooper box is probably my favorite. Opening the box reveals the figure in a plastic tray with a plastic cover, additionally, weapons and gloves are often bagged—I presume to protect the paint from rubbing on the cover—though this is not the case with the Guard.


To the untrained eye the Royal Guard costume is fairly simple and straightforward. To the trained eye, it's still fairly simple and straightforward (insofar as I consider myself somewhat trained in the look of a Royal Guard). Red robes, with either opening in front of the right arm (as in Return of the Jedi), or an opening in front of each arm (as in Revenge of the Sith). There are a few other slight differences, but chances are if you cared, you'd already know what they are. Anyway, the helmet sculpt appears pretty accurate to me, and not too incredibly deformed. The arms are very simple and the rest of the body is even more so - it has no legs, just a solid body that looks covered with robes (salt shaker these are often called). The sleeves and body have some creases to give the impression of being covered by a robe (a solid plastic robe). I've always loved the Royal Guard helmet, and this one looks great. This figure is almost unique in that it has a soft goods robe (the Vader VCD also has a cloth cape), two separate pieces, a front and a back. You can't really tell from any of my pictures, but the robe is lined on the inside with a burgundy material which helps it look more authentic. The sides and bottom of both pieces of the robe have thin wires in them to assist in getting just the right look—if you don't like the flow of the robe, you can kind of change it. It's a nice addition, in my opinion.


The VCDs aren't big on articulation. Most have a cut neck joint, cut shoulders, wrists, and ankles. The design of the helmet doesn't really allow for turning your head (trust me, no head-turning in that helmet). Since the guard doesn't have legs, he's much less articulate than the other VCDs I have—having only wrists and shoulders—but he makes up for it by being the coolest character.


Similar to the articulation there's not much here. Black visor, and silver force pike with black grips. The lines are all very straight, there's no slop at all, it all looks great.


The Guard comes with their signature Force Pike. It's a very nice piece, and very accurate in appearance, as far as I can tell (Revenge of the Sith style). It's a cool pointy stick, but there's not really much else to say about it.

Collector Value

If you like the Royal Guard character than you should get this one. If you're a completionist, you're going to buy this whether I tell you to or not. If you're picky about what you buy, you should probably think this one over a few times before spending $50 or $60 on it—I'm not saying you won't be pleased with it, just make sure you will be before dropping that much money on it. I like it, and I'm glad I purchased one. I wouldn't have minded paying less, but through Sideshow's rewards program I earned points which will give me some small token amount off a future purchase. Sideshow only imported a small number, so you're likely to have to go to eBay to get one, although there are some great online retailers that may have them in-stock. My personal favorite is Razor's Edge Collectibles, with Dark Shadow Collectibles and North Side Collectibles following fairly close behind. Other retailers that I have little or no experience with, but are known to be reliable include Most Wanted Collectibles, CCG Armory, Things from Another World, and many others that I can't think of right now.
On to (possibly) more exciting things—more pictures!
The Royal Guard battling it out with the Shadow Stormtrooper (or Blackhole Stormtrooper) VCD. Just like in the comics! And to try to convey a sense of scale, the VCD Guard posed next to some of my other Royal Guard items: Hasbro 3 3/4" figures, Galactic Heroes, Kubrick Royal Guard, Gentle Giant Royal Guard Statue (which I'll probably review next, unless I review something else next), and a full-size Royal Guard helmet.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Collection Updates

Wow, 4 months since my last post. I'm far too lazy to have a blog. Lets see if I can come up with a list of everything I've purchased, ordered and canceled since then. On one hand, it should be easier as I've tried to cut back, even canceling some items that I had several of on order or that I no longer feel I can afford to buy. On the other hand, I've gotten into Spawn, McFarlane Dragons and Halo more, probably spending a little more than I should have.

Canceled pre-orders

Lord of the Rings

GG Rinwraith on Horse Animaquette GG Elrond mini bust GG Balrog mini bust GG Saruman mini bust

Star Wars

GG Royal Guard mini bust GG Senate Guard mini bust GG Boba Fett Classic bust GG TIE Fighter Pilot Classic bust (of course, all of the above I had multiple orders for, so one of each of them is still on order) GG Biker Scout Kustomz - I'm dropping this line completely, I have accepted the fact that it looks like crap

New Orders


Halo 2 Red Spartan on eBay Aside from that, I haven't pre-ordered any new Halo stuff, not the McFarlane Figures (though I will be getting some of them, just no need to order them just yet), not the Kotobukiya Statue (though I also want that), nor the full size weapons. Oh, speaking of weapons, I did order the two Scaled Halo 3 Weapon props by Master Replicas

Lord of the Rings

The Sauron Mini Bust on display at San Diego Comic Con has not been put up for pre-order yet, so I haven't ordered that yet, and have passed on all the other items so far.

McFarlane Spawn & Dragons

I have so far resisted ordering the Series 6 Ice Dragon (though I want it SO badly, I just haven't wanted to pay $18 for it), nor have I pre-ordered the Series 7 Ice Dragon. Neither have I yet pre-ordered the Spawn Series 32 figs I want - Raven Spawn and Commando Spawn (I cannot wait to see pics of Series 33, Ancient Egypt) Somebody is supposed to be sending me Series 5 Sorcerer Clan Dragon I've got a couple Spawn figures on the way - Mandarin Spawn 2, Commando Spawn 2, and am in negotiations to trade for several of the earlier ones.

Star Wars

Let's see, what I have I ordered... No new GG mini busts (that I can think of) Oh, the Entertainment Earth 14 pack (whatever it's called) I can't think of any other SW that's on order. Hmm... Oh yeah, MR SDCC Exclusive Shadow Stormtrooper Mini Helmet

And on to the Newly Acquired stuff


Halo for the PC, pretty fun game Halo 2 White Spartan (blue highlights, if you care) Halo 2 Blue Spartan (orange highlights)

Lord of the Rings

GG Gandalf mini bust GG Strider mini bust x2 GG Animated Saruman Maquette GG Promo Ringwraith mini bust - thanks to the most awesome guy in New Zealand, Daniel Falconer Sideshow/Weta Mouth of Sauron bust - also thanks to Daniel(who is awesome) Sideshow/Weta Balrog, Flame of Udun statue - which is awesome, again thanks to Daniel (who is more awesome than I can say)


GG Venom Mini Bust World of Kong book, signed by its author Daniel Falconer and many of its collaborators

Spawn & Dragons

Pretty much every dragon I have has come since my last post: Series 5 Eternal Clan Series 3 Sorcerer Clan Series 1 Eternal Clan Series 2 Komodo Clan Spawn IV (Masked) Scorpion Assassin Issue 007 cover art Spawn (this one just came today!) Raven Spawn (Original deco, also just came today) 3" Raven Spawn (red version) Necro Cop Mandarin Spawn 1 (Original deco) Series 29 Ninja Spawn Raven Spawn 2

Star Wars

GG Stormtrooper Animated maquette GG Blackhole Stormtrooper Animated Maquette GG Biker Scout mini bust GG Jango Fett mini bust GG Commander Gree mini bust <-- Yippee! GG Commander Cody mini bust <-- Also Yippee! GG Coruscant Clone mini bust GG Darth Malak Mini bust Medicom VCD Shadow Stormtrooper Medicom VCD Royal Guard Medicom VCD ESB Boba Fett Kotobukiya Commander Bly statue Kotobukiya Darth Maul statue Hasbro Republic Commandos figure pack. Acme Archives SDCC Exclusive Sandtrooper Character Key Acme Archives CE Exclusive TIE Pilot Character key A few Hasbro SW Transformers some Hasbro figures, and undoubtedly there's something else I've forgotten. Oh well. Edit: Of course, I forgot something. The Royal Guard Costume I order freaking 8 months ago has finally arrived. I had long since decided to sell it (if it ever came) but now that it is here I have been rethinking my decision, and just a couple of days ago I submitted my preliminary application to the 501st Legion. I guess I still ordered/received a lot of stuff over the last few months, but much of it is for sale, I'm trying to trim back some of my lines, develop tighter rules about what I can and cannot buy, and am selling off the stuff that can't abide by my rules.

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